Sons Of Anarchy's One One Six: Why Nero Will Be SAMCRO's Biggest Threat

It’s strange how Sons of Anarchy has turned into the Sherlock of FX. Not because it has Benedict Cumberbatch is in it or because it has any mysteries to solve, but because it’s perfectly comfortable using 90 minute chunks to tell its violent and sometimes difficult to watch stories. But it doesn’t take a British sleuth to see that last week’s shooting has the potential to tear the ground out from under SAMCRO. And while the batshit-but-dedicated Lee Toric (U.S. Marshalls, retired) is trying to tear them apart from a legal standpoint, I’m positing that Nero will be the one to fracture them from within.

First, let me say that I think it’s great that Sutter has managed to extend Jimmy Smits’ run on the show, not limiting him to a one-and-done season like so many other guest stars. Last year, Harold Perrineau’s underused Damon Pope was a nice “big baddie” for the Sons to butt heads with, but he was still an outsider character, but Nero is completely enveloped into every aspect of SAMCRO’s existence at this point: romantically, professionally, and criminally.

It was Arcadio, Nero’s cousin, whose weapon was used in the school shooting by young blonde Matthew, and it’s Arcadio’s old lady Darvany that everyone is worried about running off at the mouth to the cops about where the gun came from. The tragedy absolutely falls at the hands of Jax & Co. for supplying the weapons, but this angle of the story is embedded in Nero’s life, and he is the one who is taking the mental responsibility for everything, while Jax just puts on his best emotional scowl and worries about how it will affect his club.

When they’re out at the cabin and the high-strung Darvany threatens everyone with a shotgun, Arcadio takes no time at all to join her side, and Nero is quick to put a bullet in his head for it. Nero recognizes that Arcadio is a troublemaker, and uses a gun to partially make amends for Arcadio’s carelessness, even though he probably could have just shot him in the leg, or shot the tire to Gemma’s vehicle to delay his and Darvany’s planned escape. Yet Nero is clearly hitting a mental break after Juice secretively smothers Darvany with a pillow after shooting her up. This isn’t how Nero does things, and she had two other kids living with their father. He is being pushed to his limits, seeing his own club slip through his fingers. He doesn’t just get to beat someone up (ala Chibs and Juice last week) whenever things go wrong. This is much more personal to his sense of justice. And Jax lying to his face about calling for her death doesn’t bode well for anyone.

After all, Jax wants and needs to turn his club straight at this point, going so far as to halfway unsuccessfully end his weapons ties with Galaan and the Irish. But his only back-up plan is to make trashy money (but not dirty or bloody money) with Diosa, which is still Nero’s business. If Jax steps too far over the line, Nero will rip away the only legitimate trade SAMCRO can fall back on. This also bodes well for no one.

As troublesome a relationship as it is, Nero and Gemma are obviously both in it for the long haul, and I think it’s been proven that he would probably do far more for her than she would for him. And we all know that Gemma’s history with men is a troubled one, moving from one man to the next while still married to the former. It’s abundantly clear that she wants nothing more to do with Clay, and their interrogation room scene made me almost miss their constant tension. But she will do anything for her son and her grandsons, and I’m guessing that it’s this steadfast love that will somehow come between her and Nero. It was his relationship with Gemma that put him in bed with Jax, so to speak, so once that tie is severed, Nero will have little reason to continue their partnership.

Given that Nero wasn’t that interested in getting into more illegal business from the beginning, it’s almost heartbreaking to see just how far down the rabbit hole SAMCRO has taken him. And sure, Toric’s plans for Clay and Tara’s impending divorce proceedings will enter into this situation quite heavily, but I’m currently standing firm on the beliefs that Nero will play just as big a role in taking the club down.

Who’s with me?

Stuff That Fell Off the Back of the Bike

Smothering scenes are so much worse than drowning scenes to me. I can watch someone thrash around with a minimal amount of discomfort, but actually hearing their muffled screams just turns my stomach. This is a lesson, kids. Never be a junkie who gets involved with a gangbanging Dave Navarro.

“It’s not my gardener. It must be for you.” R.I.P. Dave Navarro’s Arcadio. We didn’t even get to find out how you got all those scars.

I’m actually quite intrigued/frightened by Toric’s unlawful ways. His endgame is retribution, hurting people who hurt people. And he isn’t above forgery and getting people to ass-rape Otto to get his way. Plus, he’s kind of crazy and entirely prepared for anything, which makes any opponent that much more formidable.

“Don’t use the word reamed around the priest.” That isn’t quite the titular Shakespeare sonnet (116) that Toric quotes in the police station, but it’s a lovely sentiment regardless.

I kind of love Thomas’ big bald baby head.

Jax is so brainwashed by his own sloppy good intentions that he thinks he needs to stay with the club in order for Opie’s death to not have happened in vain. Does he even remember how much Opie hated the club, and did what he did in a sense so that Jax could live on and get the hell out of it? Much like Walt on Breaking Bad, I find myself despising Jax more and more with each season.

“Only one thing more dangerous than a rat, and that’s a junkie rat.”

I’m going to need to see a little bit more of Bobby than just short segments of his Nomad round-up every twenty minutes.

I wonder when Chibs is going to cock back and knock Jax in the face so hard that his hair grows back.

Whenever Tara drops the bomb on Jax that she wants a divorce, I hope she just stands there silently and plays Mark Chesnutt’s “Goin’ Through the Big D.”

I’m fearful for the escort that is going to meet Toric.

Nice mirror image of the episode ending on Jax humping a woman. It’s a lot less sexy this go-around however.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.